fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- An email address listed inside this email has been used in a known fraud before.
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "you are advice to " (this email uses bad English)
- "united state of america" (this email uses bad English)
- "barr." (Barristers (lawyers) mentioned in 419 scams are always fake.)
- "central bank of nigeria" (the name of a person or institution often appearing in 419 scams)
- "certified bank draft" (Beware of any scheme that involves cashing checks or money orders and then wiring a portion of the funds somewhere - you'll be liable for the entire amount if the checks or money orders turn out to be fake, even after you have received and forwarded cash. If it's a lottery prize, remember that real lotteries do not pay large prizes by check. They wire the money directly to your bank account and you do not pay for that. Many scammers promise a large check only in order to then demand payment of courier fees for a fake courier service. )
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (email address has been used in a known fraud before)
Fraud email example:
From: "Mrs. Deborah Smith" (may be fake)
Date: Thu, 19 May 2011 07:49:59 +0530
Subject: Your Fund $750,000 USD.
SCAM VICTIMS COMPENSATIONS PAYMENTS.
SCAMMED VICTIM/ $750,000 BENEFICIARIES.
REF/PAYMENTS CODE: CF&sc/02354 $750,000 USD.
This is to bring to your notice that we are delegated from the UNITEDNATIONS in conjunction with the WORLD BANK GROUP OF THE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA and the CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA to pay you victims of scam $750,000 USD (Seven Hundred And Fifty Thousand Dollars) via International Certified Bank Draft.
You are listed and approved for this payment as one of the scammed victims to be paid this amount, get back to this office as soon as possible for the immediate payments of your $750,000 USD compensations funds.
Send a copy of your response to official email: email@example.com
NAME: Barr. Edward O. Smith
PHONE: +234 8022277421
SCAMMED VICTIM/REF/PAYMENTS CODE:
You are advice to forward your contact details to me immediately to enable us proceed and pay your compensation fund to you, such as your name,
address, phone numbers, and country of origin.
Mrs. Deborah Smith